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4-H recognized for its support of Ronald McDonald House Charities
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Effingham County 4-Hers who attended the Junior Conference included, front row, left to right: Logan Byrd, Bailee Wilson, Abigail Henry, Briannah Cribbs and Brianna Tredway; and back row, Chance Denny and Nick Palefsky. - photo by Photo provided

Effingham County 4-H was recognized at the Georgia 4-H Junior Conference for its support of Ronald McDonald House Charities.

4-H’ers from every fifth- and sixth-grade classroom in the Effingham County School System collected pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House. Effingham County 4-H’ers placed third for the Southeast Georgia District by collecting a total of 434 pounds.

The Ronald McDonald House serves families of children who are receiving medical treatment, providing a “home-away-from-home” at little or no cost for families with a hospitalized child. This year Georgia 4-H’ers collected 14,053 pounds of pop tabs for a value of around $7,500.

The project began in 2002 when seventh- and eighth-grade 4-H’ers presented the idea to 4-H administration. Since then, 4-H’ers have raised nearly $78,000 to support Ronald McDonald Houses across the state by selling 129,236 pounds of pop tabs.

More than 700 volunteers, teen leaders, junior participants and 4-H staff gathered at Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton for the annual Georgia 4-H Junior Conference, a 26-hour event filled with community service projects, classes, workshops and fun activities.

The 4-H’ers representing Effingham County were Logan Byrd, Briannah Cribbs, Chance Denney, Abigail Henry, Nick Palefsky, Brianna Tredway and Bailee Wilson.

Junior Conference is a statewide event designed for Junior 4-H’ers (seventh- and eighth-graders) to experience belonging to a group of peers, demonstrate generosity through service projects, master subject matter through classes and workshops and exercise independence as they learn about possibilities available through Georgia 4-H.

High school 4-H’ers and adult volunteers instructed classed on subjects including financial literacy and bullying prevention. The conference also provided recreation such as a dance; color run; a scavenger hunt; a performance by Clovers & Company, the Georgia 4-H Performing Arts group; and multiple games such as miniature golf, flag football, ultimate frisbee, relay races and a talent show.

Together, the 4-H’ers, 4-H staff and teen leaders collected 42 pounds of coupons to send overseas to military personnel and their families through Coups for Troops, wrote 85 letters for military troops and made a compassion chain to reminder everyone to stop bullying when they see it occurring.